I was going to begin this column with the words “Another day, another mass shooting.” Then I read an online column that began the same way. I Googled those words, and, of course, several other columns and editorials chose the very same phrase, and that tells you all you need to know about guns in America.
After all, what more is there to say, once you get past the obligatory paeans to the dead: reciting their names, ages and, if they are not schoolchildren, their occupations. There will be a week or so of musing on what could have driven yet another angry, possibly psychotic loner to gun down his—choose from one of the following—colleagues, former co-workers, schoolmates, fellow soldiers, etc. etc. And then we’ll get back down to the business of reporting, way down the proverbial page, the toll that guns take in this country every single day.
If you are among the millions of people who cannot fathom our government’s refusal to pass sensible gun-control laws, you know the plain truth: Easy access to guns in America is a scandal, and the notion that a household is safer with a gun than without is a colossal lie. We keep saying this over and over again, to no avail. The gun lobby, bankrolled by the companies that manufacture the weapons, is rarely at a loss for something to say, except in the aftermath of a mass shooting, when they go strangely silent. After a decent interval, the gun lobby resumes its drumbeat, and that is why, even though the cause of sane gun laws seems so futile, we must continue to speak out every chance we get.
The gun lobby, led by the NRA, keeps its scare campaign alive 24 hours a day, finding new ways to persuade the fearful and the misinformed that if the federal government had its way, all of your guns would be taken from you in order to make it easier to herd you into a concentration camp. For those less inclined toward paranoia, the gun lobby serves up the scenario of a natural disaster, with mobs rioting in the street, and with law-abiding citizens unable to defend their homes and families because the Feds have disarmed the good guys.
The NRA also has at its beck and call the gullible and willfully irresponsible members of the fringe online media. How else is it possible to hear an intelligent acquaintance of mine repeat the fabrication that the landmark Gun Control Act of 1968 was inspired by Nazi-era laws designed to disarm enemies of The Third Reich. Google this fantasy and you will learn that Connecticut Senator Thomas Dodd, a prosecutor at the Nuremburg war crimes trials, supposedly asked the Library of Congress for a translated copy of the Nazi Weapons Law of 1938. Dodd, a longtime advocate of sensible gun laws well before the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., was, according to the conspiracy theories, inclined to replicate Nazi laws in the U.S.
But the same website also claims that in 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson proposed licensing and registration of all firearms, Dodd cautioned him against enacting “Nazi legislation.” Does any of this make sense? Of course not, but drop Adolf Hitler’s name into any discussion and you’re bound to get attention.
Turning history on its head, the fantasy-peddlers are also fond of repeating that “liberals” during the riot-plagued 1960s were eager to pass gun control laws to keep firearms out of the hands of marauding blacks. This is a clever way of re-packaging the Hitler lie—and pinning it on liberals, to boot. In this telling, today it is unarmed blacks who will be rounded up, but tomorrow it will be … you!
Drowned out by the gun lobby’s distortions of fact are the real facts. According to an April 2013 study by the Center for American Progress, “Across the key indicators of gun violence that we analyzed, the 10 states with the weakest gun laws collectively have an aggregate level of gun violence that is more than twice as high—104 percent higher, in fact—than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws.” (See below.)
And yet, Michael Bloomberg’s millions and the sickening images of slaughter in Connecticut and Colorado couldn’t prevent two brave Colorado state legislators from being recalled as a penalty for their supporting sensible gun laws. To merely propose reasonable, sane gun laws—laws that have nothing to do with stripping gun owners of lawfully-acquired sporting weapons–seems so pointless. That is, until we have to sit down again and write “Another day, another mass shooting.”
Steve Robinson moved to Flagler County after a 30-year career in New York and Atlanta in print, TV and the Web. Reach him by email here.
I’m so sick of everyone blaming the item instead of the person using the item! The two shootings on the military bases shouldn’t have happened and wouldn’t have happened if Clinton didn’t take away soldiers weapons while they are on base. They are our military for God sake! They are suppose to have weapons!!! But no that jack ass took them away from them when he was in office so now none of our people have a way of defending themselves on the bases. How stupid is that shit!! The Democrats have hurt this country with it’s stupid laws and now the Republicans are helping them. Neither party is worth a crap!
@rthorp11 says–The point is that the person using the item should not have been in possession of the item. No one is saying that guns by themselves, in object form, are intrinsically evil. We simply do not want them in the hands of evil, sick and/or stupid people. And that continues to be a problem. The NRA, which supports the gun industry, would profit from firearms being in as many hands as possible in all their multiple forms, with as little restraint as possible…for profit. To some of us, human life is more important, as is preventing more tragedies like this one from occurring in the future. Seems like a sane and reasonable concern to me.
SO you want to stop gun makers from making a living and put all their employees out of work. Criminals will find a way to do bad things if not with a gun then with something else. Get rid of the guns here and they will start using car bombs like they do in Iraq. Will we then get rid of cars and go back to horses???
The Outlaw says
Look up areas and countries with strict gun laws, you will find that the stricter the laws the more violent crimes are committed with guns. In the US, Detroit and Chicago have the tightest gun laws with the highest murder rate of guns. The problem is not law abiding citizens owning guns and being able to protect themselves. Maybe you should have done some more reading before writing eh?
Actually Chcago has fewer gun murders than Miami per 100,000 people. New Orleans has the most.
@ Binkey, Chicago has just earned the title of City with the highest murder rate in the nation.
This has been proven not to be true.The two latest studies that disprove your opinion (it is not a fact) are the two most recent studies done by The American Journal of Medicine and The American Journal of Public Health.
Just another  making us gun owners look bad, but doesn’t justify a cause to make strict gun laws so then us good guys cant have them. Remember, when SECONDS count, the police are only MINUTES away.
Well, following along with the current logic of the NRA, “If everyone in that building had been carrying a gun, this could have been prevented!” Remember it “takes a good guy with a gun to . . . ”
This nutcase was in his Constitutional rights to carry a gun.
Perhaps in his deranged state of mind, those voices he was hearing were a imposed a life or death threat – so he shot them in self defense.
Try him in a Florida court . . .
Florida Native says
For the gazillionith time it’s not the gun. It’s the shooter. Let’s outlaw knives,rocks,sticks,boomerangs,pool cues,bb guns, and anything else some idiot can get their hands on. Give me a fricking break.
Sgt Saber says
Perhaps you SHOULD have written this article about the reason so many died, was NO ONE except the shooter had a weapon. Its far time that rather then becoming a NAZI state and give up your ability to protect yourself and your family, we should be allowed OPEN CARRY anywhere and everywhere. I guarantee you if those good people in that Navy Yard building would have had a firearm on them there may have been only one death..that of the shooter !!!
This is not the NRA’s fault, it’s your almighty legislator’s fault for not representing the people and not doing the right problem solving. It is also the fault of goverment employees not doing their job or paying attention to their job. This person obviously had mental heath issues, who dropped the ball?
The Truth says
A majority of conservative, gun rights, “don’t take my guns” people that I talk to all just say: “Well, there’s nothing you can do to stop these mass shootings. They’re going to happen.” That’s easy to say when you’re over 1,000 miles away from something like this happening. The reality is, this is becoming more and more a reality and something needs to be done.
I am not in support of a mass de-arming of our citizens. I believe in the right for RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. The fact is, that is becoming less and less common. It is far to easy to purchase a gun in the country and acquire a concealed weapons permit. I believe that we all need to work together on finding a viable solution. The NRA needs to stay uninvolved (even though that’s nearly impossible now with their lobbyists). I have confidence that as a country we can come together and find a solution that can help keep innocent people from being shot and killed like this. It’s heartbreaking to see these stories time and time again.
It is a shame we can’t seem to have an intelligent conversation about gun laws today. If you bring it up, you’re “not American.” You’re an extremist, or a Nazi. So people are afraid to go there. Meanwhile, people are being shot and killed by people with psychiatrict problems. And our gun laws alow these people to buy and own guns.
I do believe we should continue to have the right to “keep and bear arms”, but not if the person suffers from any type of psychiatric problems. I also see no reason why gun owners shouldn’t be made to keep their weapons locked up when not in use. Too many guns are stolen during break ins and then later used to kill. Laws should be made to inforce proper gun ownership. Maybe that would also save some poor kid from killing himself, his dad, or his best friend. All of which have happened because a loaded gun was left unlocked.
The NRA is one reason I no longer care to call myself a Republican.
Please play Dixie for me!
It was vice president Joe Biden that said everyone should buy a shotgun and this is what this man used in the shooting. If he could pass a high level security clearance with all their security checks why would you blame gun dealers from selling him a gun. If the base employees were allowed to carry guns they would have had a chance to stop him before he killed so many of them. There was a lag of 30 minutes from the time he started shooting until the police got there to respond. Blame base security or the police agencies but enough of your grand standing for gun control. If guns kill people how come no oone gets killed at gun shows.
Nancy N. says
And once again the pro-gun faction leaves out inconvenient facts that don’t support their argument….like the fact that DC police didn’t receive a 911 call about the shooting until 20 minutes after it started. So unless their dispatchers are psychic they can’t be held responsible for not responding in those first 20 minutes.
And also, there was at least one armed person in the building that the shooter committed his carnage in, a security guard. Since the gunman had the element of surprise, he was easily able to overwhelm and kill the guard and he then took his handgun from him and USED IT TO COMMIT MORE CARNAGE. Yup, that armed person helped at lot.
Charles Gardner says
In Chicago, a city with sensible gun laws, 13 people are gunned down at a playground.
European countries have very strict gun laws. They don’t have this problem. In the US gun violence is mostly the result of illegal drug markets in the inner city areas. Guns being sold in states with loose gun restriction laws allow for broken restrictions in states with strict laws and for the violence that follow. Funny how the law matters to some so conveniently.
Nancy N. says
” In the US gun violence is mostly the result of illegal drug markets in the inner city areas.” Exactly which of the high profile shootings in Flagler County lately were the result of drugs in the inner city? The one in Flagler Beach about a barking dog? The one committed by an ex-boyfriend who killed his former girlfriend and her new partner in their sleep? The gun nut who shot his wife in their bathroom while playing with his AK-47? Or the mother of 6 shot by an itinerant nut job while working at her minimum wage job as a gas station clerk?
You’re right in this but I am just making a point about the predominant violence that has affected city’s like D.C., Chicago, etc. I haven’t mentioned that the same results have happened in Virginia Tech, Columbine, Connecticut and other horrific incidents. The mental health issue has much to do with some of these incidents. There has to be control of guns. People pull the trigger so take the tool away!!! Funny how lobbyist make or change he law. Are motorcycles and helmets a safety issue? Why not? Then why is seat belts a must in this comparison. Money for campaigns, politics, and votes!!!
People kill. Insane people kill. They use tools. Tools kill if used incorrectly especially it this tool is a tool used for killing.
Old Pete says
Check out Switzerland. They have a civilian military. Every male citizen is a member of the military and he takes his weapons home with him. Gun crime or any other crime is very low.
Military rules on conduct and civic responsibility not withstanding, what’s your point?
W.ryan, You quite obviously missed the hatchet killing of a British soldier on a public street in broad daylight.
Nobody could stop him.
Let’s see-a man with a security clearance issued to permit him access to a secure base turns out to have a troubled past, and have mental issues. That ostensibly upstanding citizen uses his Government security to buy a shotgun (as recommended by the Veep, Joe Biden), and uses it to kill people on the secure base, even though he was not allowed to bring his new purchase on base, and the people killed were law abiding, so they were unarmed because of the “no guns allowed” policy in the Navy yard.
The Government says now its security check system is overwhelmed with the numbers over persons it has to follow up on, and anyhow, HIPPA and other regulations demanded the shooters mental issues be kept hidden. The Navy itself concealed a troubled service record, and issued an “Honorable Discharge” to a man that, on paper, should have a General Discharge at best.
He was employed in the private sector, and his employer was therefore forbidden by law to inquire as to his mental state (ADA regs) or his arrest record before hiring him (EEOC Regs they now are in the process of upgrading to include conviction records as a no no.)
All of the above, in the eyes of the anti 2nd Amendment crowd, cries out for more “Gun Control.” What would they suggest? Background checks? The man passed a high security background check when he was issued his security clearance. What would the ATF find, given the mandated secrecy of HiPPA, ADA, & the EEOC?
Enforce the laws on the books now, and see what happens.
Let me understand, there were 13 people shot in a park in Chicago this last weekend, including a three year old. The news and the liberal ban the gun group do not want to address this issue, Chicago the killing capital of the USA. I wonder why, who runs Chicago, who is from this city, who was a community organizer in this city and who are the shooters and the victims. Just wondering. Maybe we should invade Chicago since they are shooting small children. Or, better yet maybe we can get the Russians to address this issue since our current leaders will not, just a suggestion.
Sherry Epley says
Australia has had great success in reducing gun violence after their gun buy back. . . this from the Washington Post:
“Australia’s gun control regime, first passed in 1996 in response to a massacre in Tasmania that left 35 dead. The law banned semiautomatic and automatic rifles and shotguns. It also instituted a mandatory buy-back program for newly banned weapons.
So what have the Australian laws actually done for homicide and suicide rates? A study by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University finding that the firearm homicide rate fell by 59 percent, and the firearm suicide rate fell by 65 percent, in the decade after the law was introduced, without a parallel increase in non-firearm homicides and suicides.”
Sweden, a country in which hunting is an extremely popular national pass time, has strict controls over hand guns and automatic weapons. Their murder rate per 100,000 people hovers at about “1”. While the gun murder rate in the USA is much higher at just over “10”.
The statistics again and again show the direct correlation between lax gun safety regulations/ the number of guns owned per capita, and the gun murder rate. . . but why use actual facts when the NRA vombies can recite NRA propaganda from memory?
I believe voters are starting to do their own research, instead of allowing themselves to be emotionally brain washed by any organization, or political party that is in reality working against the best interest of the true patriots of our country. . . those that love and care for one another. . . those that want to work hard for a decent wage and live peaceful, secure lives of compassion and dignity.
Rise up against the fear hatred spread by the NRA! Make your voices heard by your political representatives. . . by telephone. . . by email. . . but most importantly, by your vote.
Your Vote. . . USE IT OR LOSE IT!
I have relatives in Australia and your statistics are “hogwash”. Australians DID NOT want to give up there guns. They CURSE their government and what it did. Murders are happening by swords, knifes, bricks, cars, hands. Australians CAN NOT defend themselves from gangs with machete’s and knifes. They are being murdered and their government can not protect them.
Let’s examine Australia’s commonality with the US. Are they offshoots from Great Britain? There are some similar mindsets ingrained in our cultures.